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Subject: tournament quarterfinal, game two rss

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Tony Chen
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Here is game two of the tournament quarterfinal against woswoasi. For a report on game one, and how to view these games, click here.

I am white this time, and with the pressure to win. Oh goes:

early game
Again, I opened with the "safe" hopper distant queen. He was bold and went for the hopper proxy queen opening. This really paid off for him, as I don't think I countered his opening correctly. I used my first initiative to deploy a spider (in retrospect, I really should've deployed an ant).

He deployed an ant safe from my spider's pinning range. I had to pin his queen with my spider. He then deployed a second ant.

Now this really puts me in a bad position. He had two ants ready to pin my next two deployments, which is huge. Had I deployed an ant first instead of a spider, I could've use it to pin his first ant. And then we could've done a similar opening exchange as in game one, with me regaining the initiative.

In this game, I already lost in the opening.

mid game
As predicted, he pinned my next two deployed units: spider and ant. Notice the way he pinned my two units, leaving me no space to deploy units there. So I had to deploy a unit next to my queen on my next turn.

I chose to deploy the ant, maybe I would've been better off deploying a beetle instead. A beetle would've taken many turns to trek to his queen, but losing an ant is really painful in the pinning front (ant is the unit to use for pinning). So it was a tough choice between the two. A hopper would not have been good because if I jumped it next to his queen, it would free up his hopper right next to it, gaining me nothing. This is why a hopper opening is good.

I then went for the beetle drop, trying to gain on the racing game. He deployed an ant and a spider. This was my second mistake: I should've gone for the pinning game. As is, I am behind on both fronts from after the opening.

I drop my beetle on his queen, and he pins my queen with his spider. I then use my spider to pin his ant.

Now we both go for the racing to surround game--he because he's winning on that front, and me because I don't have a real alternative by now. He deploys a beetle, I deploy an ant into a blocking space, he moves his beetle into a blocking space.

Now he is two moves away from surround my queen (using his two free ants). I am four moves away from surrounding his, so I must do something to deter his surrounding my queen. But I don't have enough units (1 ant) to outpin his remaining supply (2 ants on board, two hopper and beetle in reserve). Really, I don't know how I got myself into this situation. Again, the opening exchange must've been pretty bad for me. So my only real choice was to free up my hopper.

But in doing so, I had to move my spider and free up his ant. But it was a favorable exchange (though not quite nearly enough), because one, I jumped my hopper into a blocking space and two, he is still two blocks away from victory, but one of the blocking spaces has become inaccesible to ants.

Trying to press his race to surround queen advantage, he deploys a hopper ready to jump into a blocking space. I should've let him jump his hopper into the penultimate space (which as accessible to his other 2 free ants anyways), and went all out into preventing his access to the last blocking space. Granted, if he doesn't make any mistakes he will win, but I could've made it harder for him.

To do that, I needed to save my last free ant for pinning. But instead of going for the pinning game, I went for the surrounding game. I moved my ant so I can drop another unit in that blocking space. But I didn't realize he could one, move his hopper away freeing up a blocking space, and two, while doing so, prevent a direct drop in that blocking space anyways (his hopper now borders that space).

By now the game is pretty much over. The rest are merely formality.

poor opening
I really lost out on the opening, and he didn't give up his advantage ever since. I don't play white enough. Note to self: open with an ant to mantain white's advantage.

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